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February 1, 2002

Dean Sommer Denounces Smallpox Experiments

Alfred Sommer , MD, MHS, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, strongly opposes the U.S. Army's recent efforts to infect monkeys with the deadly smallpox virus. Dr. Sommer believes the experiments are dangerous and do little to improve the understanding of a virus for which an effective vaccine already exists. Smallpox has been eradicated as a disease and most nations wish to see the virus erased from the earth. He adds that further experimentation with the virus risks "releasing the genie from the bottle" by sparking a global biological arms race or an unforeseen outbreak. Dr. Sommer urges the government to halt smallpox experimentation and supports the destruction of all remaining smallpox samples.

Dr. Sommer's original comments appeared in the February 1, 2002 issue of the Baltimore Sun.

Dean to Discuss Smallpox Research on Marc Steiner Show

At noon on Thursday, February 7, tune in to the Marc Steiner show on WYPR (88.1 FM) to hear Dean  Sommer discuss his opposition to the Army's smallpox research. Also participating will be Raymond Zilinskas, PhD, senior scientist in residence at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies. Dr. Zilinskas favors the research.

Public Affairs Media Contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons @ 410.955.6878 or